When I described this meal as “decadent vegetarian”, my husband gave me a strange look and asked, “Is that even possible?”. If you have any doubt as to possibility of a meal being both vegetarian and decadent, this dish will erase those doubts! The velvety pumpkin cream sauce poured over cheesy ravioli is rich and flavorful. I served this sauce over the homemade and store bought ravioli that I used in my last comparison and it was equally delicious on both. I actually adapted this sauce from a recipe for Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce from foodnetwork.com but lightened it up quite a bit by using some olive oil instead of butter and half and half in place of cream. However, it is still a very rich, decadent meal that is not exactly in the healthy vegetarian category; I would consider this more of a special fall treat! If you would like to lighten it up even further, try serving the sauce over hearty whole-wheat pasta with a big side salad.
Ravioli with Pumpkin Cream Sauce
Makes 4 servings
20 ounce package fresh three-cheese ravioli
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
3/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup whole milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons finely chopped chives for garnish (optional)
1. Cook the ravioli according to package directions in a large pot of salted boiling water. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining ravioli. Return the ravioli to the pot and cover with lid to keep warm.
2. In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sautee until shallots are beginning to soften and turn translucent, about 3 minutes.
3. Add the pumpkin puree to the skillet and stir for 1 minute. Combine the half and half and milk in a measuring cup then slowly add it to the skillet in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Turn heat to low and continue to cook and whisk until sauce thickens slightly, about 3 more minutes. Try not to let the sauce come to a full boil as this may cause the milk to curdle. Season to taste with salt and pepper and, if needed, whisk in some of the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce. Serve immediately over the prepared ravioli sprinkled with chives, if desired.